I'll admit. This topic may not be as appealing for some folks as Nutrition for Cancer Prevention. But here we go.
Let's start with the general benefits of exercise on cancer risk. According to an editorial in the British Medical Journal, by epidemiologists David Batty and Inger Thune, exercise impacts immune function, energy balance, bowel transit time, hormone levels (tissues become more sensitive to hormones), antioxidant defense and DNA repair. In an article review presentation by Patricia Martin, MS, Vanderbilt Medical Center, exercise also decreases anxiety and elevates mood. (This is important for the Stress Management we'll talk about next week.)
All of this is good news to decrease your cancer risk. "But how much exercise is enough?" Great question. I'm glad you asked.
Research studies show various results and it also depends on what type of cancer you are researching. Always remember that "some is better than none." It is never all-or-nothing. Breast cancer and colon cancer in relation to exercise have been widely studied. Breast cancer risk is decreased about 30% through exercise. And specifically vigorous activity. According to Leitzmann, M.F., et al (2008) in Breast Cancer Research, vigorous activity such as heavy yard-work, digging (yet another reason to put in that backyard garden), running, competitive sports that involve intermittent running, such as tennis, and aerobics lowered risk of breast cancer. Non-vigorous activity, such as walking, bowling and dusting did not lower risk in this study. So, if your joints and medical condition allow it, add in interval training a couple of days each week.
Colon cancer risk is decreased by half in active men and women. And exercise for decreasing colon cancer risk does not have to be vigorous. Just consistent.
So what does this mean to you? To decrease your overall cancer risk, get active. And, if you are medically able, increase your intensity of exercise a couple of days each week. Why not everyday? Because for long-term consistent exercise, alternating "vigorous days" and "gentle activity" days will protect your joints and increase your enjoyment.
To design a specific plan to fit your lifestyle and what you enjoy, contact ViREO Life. We are here to help you Find Your Path and Fulfill Your Potential.